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UNSCOM behaviour

This article allegedly appeared in the Times of India recently:

>>BAGHDAD: Weapons inspectors from the UN Special
>>Commission in Iraq have a serious public relations problem:
>>Hardly anyone -- Iraqi or foreigner -- has a kind word for them.
>>That the Iraqis have problems with UNSCOM staff
>>is well known. But employees of other UN agencies
>>here are equally critical of them.
>>"They roam around like cowboys, as if they own
>>the place", said one observer for the UN's
>>'Oil-for-food' programme in northern Iraq. "They
>>are uncouth and rude". Another told The Times of
>>India: "They have no respect for the culture and
>>sensitivity of the people and are deliberately
>>Diplomats in Baghdad say the Australian head of
>>UNSCOM, Richard Butler, is partly to blame. One
>>ambassador said he was too brusque. It is true
>>his solecisms tend to offend. After he told The
>>New York Times that he came from a "Western
>>tradition" where "truth-telling was important"
>>and that it was "frustrating" to deal with
>>others where this wasn't the case, the UN
>>Secretary General ticked him off.
>>Another ambassador sees a method in his manner,
>>describing Butler as "a self-perpetuating
>>bureaucrat shoe-horned from obscurity to the
>>centre of the world's attention. He is not going
>>to be in a hurry to give up his job".
>>Since the UN has a dual role in Iraq --
>>humanitarian assistance and sanctions enforcement
>>-- it is not surprising the two aspects have led
>>to tension within.
>>The UNSCOM people see the humanitarian workers as
>>softies keen for sanctions to be eased. They call
>>them "bunny-huggers". The latter, in turn, refer
>>to UNSCOM as 'UN-SCUM.' Many feel the inspectors
>>are deliberately dragging their feet to suit those
>>countries which want sanctions against Iraq
>>to continue.
>>One 'bunny-hugger' from an Asian country said:
>>"I once saw an UNSCOM guy with a US flag stuck
>>on his radio. Normally my colleagues avoid them
>>but I told him he had no right to wear his flag
>>since he was on UN duty and he just brushed past
>>me. I thought, God, if these guys are like this
>>with us, how must they be treating the Iragis?"
>>A UN relief worker from a European country
>>provided details. "There have been many
>>instances where they turn up at warehouses on a
>>Friday knowing it is a holiday," he said. "They
>>then demand to be let in but since the guard
>>doesn't have the keys and they don't wait for the
>>storekeeper to be contacted, they break the
>>padlock, search the place and go away, leaving
>>the poor guard to figure out how to lock up the
>>place again."
>>Often, they will arrive at a site and demand
>>immediate access. But since the person in-charge
>>naturally would like the clearance of his
>>superiors, he asks them to wait, at which point,
>>the UNSCOM experts return to their headquarters
>>and complain of non-compliance.
>>And then there is the infamous incident at the
>>Mar Yousif and Saydat Al-Sinabul monasteries in
>>Zafaraniya in June 1997, which inspectors
>>desecrated. The Papal Nuncio formally protested
>>and UNSCOM was forced to apologise. There have
>>also been searches of kindergartens and
>>university offices. Sometimes, the latter have
>>had their records taken away to help identify
>>potential chemical weapon experts.
>>On one occasion -- captured on film -- an UNSCOM
>>inspector demanded access to a farm. When the Iraqi
>>official accompanying him said it was private and
>>asked "How would you like it if I demanded to
>>enter your house", the UNSCOM man jabbed a
>>finger in his chest and bellowed in a thick
>>American accent: "YOU would never enter my
>>"The Iraqis feel really humiliated," said one
>>UN employee, "but their endless patience and
>>courtesy never fails to impress me and my
>>colleagues." She said that if anyone tried to
>>conduct similar searches in her country, "there
>>would be riots in the streets".
>>The problem with UNSCOM, another woman said, is
>>that it is heavily staffed by nationals of
>>countries which fought the Gulf War. The fact
>>that most are soldiers doesn't help. "The UN
>>always had a rule of not sending non-neutral
>>people into any area. In the case of Iraq, this
>>rule has been broken. It's like sending Israelis
>>to Lebanon or Pakistanis to the Kashmir border."
>>* * *

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